2019 NASFAA Benchmarking Report

NASFAA has conducted benchmarking surveys of financial aid administrators and offices for more than two decades. This report presents findings from the 2018 NASFAA Benchmarking Survey, which updates the 1995 through 2017 reports. Where possible, this report shows trends in data over time.

This report, the 2019 NASFAA Benchmarking Report: Key Factors That Impact Financial Aid Office Salaries, Staff Size, Administrative Capacity, and Campus Relations, also provides a description of the Staffing Model that identifies and explains the key factors used to create the model. This model (or calculation) produces a general measure of how offices with similar characteristics (e.g., size, institution type, control) are staffed. Details on the model may be found below. NASFAA members may access both the report and model, free of charge.

Upon purchase, you'll have access to download the PDF from the NASFAA website. 

Free (Members)
$250.00 (Non-Members)

NASFAA also provides results from our 2019 Benchmarking Report by the following variables:

2019 NASFAA Staffing Model

This model allows you to enter a number of variables that are statistically significant in determining staff size in financial aid offices and generates a custom report that measures your institution's staffing level against other institutions operating in similar circumstances.

Staffing Model

Key Findings from the 2019 Benchmarking Report


  • This section presents data from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR).
  • In 2017-18, chief student financial aid officers earned a median salary of $89,016, and student financial aid counselors earned a median salary of $42,840.
  • Men's salaries exceeded women's salaries at every level, particularly among chief student financial aid officers, where the median salary for women was $85,467, while their male counterparts earned $95,000, or 11 percent more.


  • In 2018, the overall average number of aid applicants per institution was 10,581 and the average number of aid recipients was 6,452. This represents a 15 percent increase in applicants and a 5 percent increase in recipients since 2016.
  • Based on the responses received, the average school has 12 full-time employees, but only 2.5 to serve every 1,000 aid applicants.

Campus Relations

  • Nearly three-quarters of schools indicated their current reporting structure was either "very appropriately" or "appropriately" placed within the institution.
  • Ninety percent of financial aid offices reported providing information about changes in regulatory requirements to other administrators at the institution.

For additional questions about the 2019 Benchmarking Survey Report or Staffing Model please contact NASFAA's Research Department at [email protected], or (202) 785-7284.

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